The End Of The Roland Burris Era
Roland Burris has decided not to run for election to the US Senate from Illinois. Also, from his jail cell, Charles Manson has passed on a Congressional run. And that guy who accidentally caught the ball to ruin the Cubs' World Series chances is begging off a run for Alderman of Wrigleyville.
All of these announcements have about the same element of surprise. Burris raised $845 in the first quarter of the year, and the rumor was that the second quarter wouldn't be much better. He'll go down in history as one of the oddest characters to wind up in the world's most deliberative body (by the way, they can be less deliberative, we won't mind).
So who will take his place in the Obama seat in the Senate? Attorney General Lisa Madigan, who would have been a lock, passed on the race, and moments later, Republican Congressman Mark Kirk jumped in. Kirk represents a moderate district and some in Illinois think he would be formidable for either State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias or Kennedy spawn Chris Kennedy. This could be a tough race for the Democrats, but Giannoulias' ties to the Obama Administration can hopefully help get him across the line.
I'll tell you, the news has not been hopeful for Democratic Senate races lately. Obviously there's lots of time and it'll all depend on the economy, but considering the state of the Republican Party and the number of seats the GOP has to defend, this cycle is starting to look like an opportunity lost.